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Although the first Norse and Celtic runes were carved in wood, those that have survived until our days were engraved on swords, rings, coins and even stones that were used to pass on messages.
Their origin is remote and they survived for ten centuries, until the Early Middle Ages, like a divine alphabet which allowed the contact with the gods of the Norse mythology.
The runes are a group of alphabets used in Antiquity by the Germanic peoples of northern Europe, which survived until the Inquisition sought their eradication as a sign of magic and witchcraft, in the 13th century. However, why were these alphabets created? What was their function and why were they considered magical?
The Celtic and Nordic runes were not created for literary purposes or to express complex ideas, but to honour the warriors and celebrate the gods. For this reason, during their ten centuries of existence, the runic alphabets developed into magic runes that served as oracle of the Norse gods: they were used to communicate with the gods.
Originally, it is believed that they had a funeral function: these angular symbols created to be engraved on hard materials were inscribed on the tombs to remember the most important deeds of the deceased. However, in Norse mythology, runes became sacred elements, since they were considered a gift from Odin to humankind.
According to “Hávamál”, one of the lyrical works of the Poetic Edda of Norse mythology, written around 800 AD: “All will prove true that thou askest of runes / those that are come from the gods, / which the high Powers wrought, and which Odin painted: / then silence is surely best”.
Due to their divine origin, despite their prohibition, their graphemes survived within the esoteric and occult circles, and have been used until today for ritual purposes and as a tool for reading the future.
The Norse runes are considered one of the oldest alphabets, as it is believed that they were used in prehistoric times and were defined and spread during the Bronze Age, although their date cannot be accurately established.
For centuries, the Vikings used the magic runes to attract and project energies coming from the afterlife, and to consult the gods’ oracle. As it was considered a divine gift from the gods, this alphabet was consulted by kings, princes and warriors alike in order to find out the future of their kingdom or the outcome of a battle.
The superstition regarding these Norse symbols was so strong that they were engraved on swords, rings and banners to ask for protection and power, and on stones and amulets to be used as lucky charms and to perform rituals and spells.
According to the Norse legend, after nine fasting days, the god Odin discovered the runes and gave them meaning. This myth about their origin is shared with the Celtic runes, which inherited from the Norse runes their knowledge and use. However, the Celtic peoples acquired a personality of their own, and they also developed their particular magic runes.
Both Saxon and Nordic runes are one of the oldest divination methods, because in ancient times, these peoples believed that they were sacred symbols offered by the gods to mankind so that they predict the future, invoke good luck and ask for protection.
Although their use was banned during the Middle Ages, they survived thanks to the occult and esoteric circles that secretly used them as oracle and for rituals. The Celtic and Norse runes are still used as a method of divination. But, how are these strange angular symbols read?
According to Odin’s rune method, in order to invoke the divination power of the runes, you have to put them into a black sachet and mix them while you pose the question you want to figure out. Then, you take out the stones one by one until they form a message, for which you have to know how to decipher the code.
You can also choose the three-rune method, in which three runes are taken out and read from right to left: the first indicates the present moment, the second, the obstacles, and the third, the path you must follow. In the vertical cast, five runes are taken out and placed in a vertical line from top to bottom, which symbolise in that order: the current situation, the challenge, the recommended path, the sacrifice and the new situation that will come up.
As we have seen, the Elder Futhark alphabet consists of 24 letters, and each one of them reveals a very special meaning. If you pay attention to the meaning of each one of them, you will be able to read the answer given by the gods to the question you made through Odin’s rune method.
It indicates the arrival of wealth by means of material possessions, and the beginning of a period of good fortune. New love relationships will come up and fertility will increase.
This is a loss that marks the end of a cycle and the beginning of a period of new opportunities. It is a radical change in which science leads to knowledge and passions achieve the greatness of love.
It asks for consideration before acting, the need to turn to reason and wit to solve issues with restraint. Passions prevent you from doing a clear judgement in love.
It announces the arrival of a new message that helps you to better understand a chaotic situation. It also suggests the arrival of good luck in love and friendship.
This rune predicts the beginning of exciting journeys to explore unknown territories, where boldness and bravery are rewarded with protection.
You find a connection point with someone very special. At a love level, it suggests fulfilment in your sex and love life, and in your life in general, unity and association.
Actions lead to the hastiness and alteration of the natural order of events. So, it would be better to wait patiently and keep contemplating.
You become less clear, optimistic and strong, and see the arrival of a crisis that breaks everything that was united. Rupture and pessimism, loss of reference and confusion.
This is a protective rune that can be used as a lucky charm and indicates a positive change of course thanks to a revival that is showed through inner growth.
It suggests fulfilment in love through a special connection. In your life in general, this is the time to reap the rewards of your effort, to enjoy your work’s results.
Your spirit suddenly finds itself at a crucial crossroads: you must choose between love or hatred, truth or deception. The knots are untied and the problems, solved.
The pain acts as a learning engine, building up wisdom to digest the bad experiences of fruitful findings that help you act more reasonably.
This is the foresight of the clear path that leads to your goals, the arrival of victory and success through the path of transcendence and the strength of perseverance.
It is the awakening of your intuition, that esoteric side which lies within yourself and now finds the light to manifest itself meaningfully and give wisdom.
It marks the beginning of a new path towards the fulfilment of your unfinished tasks in a satisfactory way and the vanishing of your doubts. This is a rune representing the sexual magic.
Fate stirs something that remains hidden in order to bring it to light. So, it is likely that unspeakable secrets are revealed and all kinds of deception, exposed.
It is a magically established connection between two worlds, the human and the divine, so that a protective divine light comes to you with the gifts of protection and revelation.
The courage, intelligence and strength channelled through action conquer the natural victory over the divisive powers of the universe. Success, triumph, conquest.
According to this rune, you get new mental powers, your intelligence and your ability to think and discern increase. Inner balance and a revealing divine conscience.
The clairvoyance to solve a conflictive situation results in a new revival, the awakening to a new revealing and rewarding life.
It predicts the achievement of freedom through difficult and painful decisions that demand bravery and offer, in return, independence, satisfaction and fulfilment.
Waiting patiently for the changes without making the mistake of rushing into things is essential in order to make the right decisions in every step you take. Avoid the interference of other people in your matters.
Harmony, well-being and fellowship fill the emptiness created by bad moments when leaving, and now the future seems optimistic and full of possibilities.
It expresses the exact balance between opposite, and at the same time complementary, forces to ensure a steady progress through strength and loyalty, and by avoiding risks.
As we have seen, runes are letters of ancient alphabets with divine powers among which divination stands out, as the oracle of the gods. However, magic runes have also been used since ancient times as a means of protection, as they attract the divine powers in the course of a mission.
Therefore, the runes engraved on swords, rings, coins, stones and wood amulets work as a lucky charm that protects against dangers and invoke good luck, fertility and success. Among the runes that we have seen, the five protection runes are: Tiwaz, the warrior’s luck; Ingwaz, the demonstration of strength; Algiz, the divine protection; Eihwaz, the defence; and Ehwaz, the movement.